Last winter, students in Manheim Central High School’s FFA plotted out how to grow about 4,000 plants for their stand at Landis Valley Herb & Garden Faire.
Not long later, the pandemic closed school, cut off access to the greenhouse and canceled the plant sale.
Ag science teacher Seth Kensinger rescued hundreds of pepper seedlings and student Anna Haldeman cared for them in structures her family built at her home. Kensinger planted some of the tomato seeds as the lock-down started. Later in the spring, he gave away the plants for donations in hopes of recouping their costs.
This winter, students in the school’s new greenhouse management and landscaping class knew the 2021 herb and garden faire was canceled. They still decided to grow a variety of tomatoes, herbs, vegetables and cantaloupe as a class project.
“So many people come just for our tomatoes at Landis Valley,” says student Ellie McCabe. “We figured if they want our tomatoes so much, they can come here and get them. We all really enjoy doing this. Why not just do it here?”
They’re planning their own plant sale at school at the end of April.
As Manheim Central students pivoted on what they grow and how to sell, other groups throughout the Lancaster County region have made changes to long-held plant sales and swaps. Some have been canceled. Some added online options. Some are happening with changes.
Here’s more about plant sales and swaps in the region.
Girl Scout Troop 20566 native plant sale: New for 2021
Online ordering begins April 1 at troop20566.square.site. Orders can be picked up in Wrightsville on May 2.
Pennsylvania Herb and Garden Festival: canceled
This herb festival (with plant vendors) held at York Expo Center has been canceled for 2021. Plans are in the works for the 2022 show, Friday, April 8 and Saturday, April 9.
Pennsylvania Garden Show of York: Not happening
This show at York Expo Center ended its run in 2020.
Historic Poole Forge plant swap: Still happening
The plant swap at Historic Poole Forge, 1940 Main St., Narvon is Friday, April 16. Set-up starts at 6 p.m. The swap starts at 6:30 p.m. Bring plants in containers with labels. Growing instructions are appreciated.
Manada Conservancy native plant sale: Happening online.
Order online at manada-conservancy.square.site through Friday, April 20. Plants can be picked up May 1 at the Hummelstown nonprofit.
Lancaster Native Plant and Wildlife Festival: The show's on
Lancaster Native Plant and Wildlife Festival is usually held in April to promote native plants. Habitat MT is organizing a 2021 festival, Saturday, April 24 from 8 a.m.-noon at Manheim Township's Overlook Park, near the library. To prevent crowds, this year's festival will have no speakers. Vendors are limited to nurseries and nonprofits.
Manheim Central Ag Department’s greenhouse sale: New for 2021
The students in Manheim’s greenhouse management and landscaping class usually grow plants for Landis Valley’s Herb and Garden Faire. After that event was canceled, they’re having their own sale with 31 types of tomatoes, 21 kinds of peppers, eight types of herbs plus vegetables and cantaloupe. The sale will be at the greenhouse, 3:30-5 p.m., Fridays, April 30 and May 7 and 8 a.m.-noon, Saturdays, May 1 and May 8. The greenhouse is at the high school, 400 E. Adele Ave., Manheim. Enter through the rear parking lot entrance on Hershey Drive. More information: lanc.news/MPlants.
Horn Farm Center’s heirloom plant sale: Happening May 1
Horn Farm Center in Hellam, York County, will have a plant sale Saturday, May 1 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Plants are grown organically on the farm and include vegetables, flowers, fruit and herbs. Online ordering has already ended.
Plant exchange in Lititz: Happening May 2
The Annual Plant Exchange hosted by Lititz Historical Foundation and Lititz Garden Club is back Sunday, May 2, 1:30-2 p.m. The plant swap will be outdoors, behind the Lititz Museum, 137-145 E. Main St., Lititz. Exchange plants must be perennials in containers with ID tags. The museum won’t be open but reservations can be made for future tours. More information: 717-627-4636 or on Facebook.
Herb & Garden Faire: Canceled
For the second year, Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum’s plant event has been canceled because of the pandemic.
Last year, plants that started growing before the shutdown from the site’s heirloom seed project were sold online.
This year, there will be no plant sales, says David Blackburn, site administrator. Plants grown from the seed collection will be added throughout the site and can be seen (not purchased) when Landis Valley opens April 30.
Site staff say they hope to bring Herb and Garden Faire back in 2022.
SECA Flower and Plant Sale: Happening May 8
Southern End Community Association brought back a plant sale in 2020 as one way to keep the nonprofit going during the pandemic. The community showed a lot of support, so the sale's back this spring, says board member Carol Gibson.
The sale will be Saturday, May 8, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the SECA Center, 299 Park Ave., Quarryville. Annuals, perennials, herbs, native trees and ground cover plants will be sold. There also will be a raffle for garden items.
Hershey Horticulture Society Plant Sale: Happening May 8
Hershey Horticulture Society’s annual spring plant sale returns to Hershey Gardens. Members of the society will answer questions. Access to the sale is included in Hershey Gardens admission and free for garden members.
Lancaster County Master Gardeners plant sale: canceled
This plant sale organized by master gardeners is usually held in early May. Organizers hope to bring back the sale in 2022.
Spring plant sales from master gardeners in Berks, York and Lebanon counties have also been canceled.
Town and Country Garden Club plant sale: Happening May 8
The garden club’s sale is open to the public at Manheim Township Community Park (Pavilion #1 at 209 East Petersburg Road, Neffsville.) The sale will have herbs, annuals, vegetable plants, houseplants and perennials from garden club members. There will also be garden equipment, pots and books. Benefits the club’s Horticulture Scholarship Fund. More information: townandcountrygardenclub.net.
Native Plants in the Landscape Conference: Canceled
Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve recently took over management of the Native Plants in the Landscape Conference, usually held in June at Millersville University. The conference usually has a plant sale open to the public. Before COVID-19 became an issue, the group canceled the 2020 conference. There will not be a 2021 conference, organizers say.